Autumn With An Author : Robbie Cheadle

I would like to introduce a multi-talented Author Robbie Cheadle from South Africa. She often writes with her son and participates to anthologies. Her talents show up in various expressions of life, I will let her telling the rest.

Books by Roberta Cheadle

  1. Words have power. When did you realize you could use the power of words in your own book to tell people your opinion, feelings, ideas or fantasy?

I have always been a keen reader. I started reading at the fairly young age of four years old and have never stopped. I always had a leaning towards books that were dark and realistic in their messaging, for example, at ten I read The Stand by Stephen King, about a pandemic that runs rampant and leaves only a handful of surviving humans of varying natures, demographics, and backgrounds.

To answer your question, because of my reading I think an understanding of the power of words was intuitive for me. I always liked to write and wrote, what I thought at the time, were beautiful descriptive poems and words from the age of twelve. In my first year out of school (when I was eighteen) I attempted to write my first book. I never finished it, but I do still have that early attempt at writing.

When my children were young, I started writing poems to express my ideas and emotions about parenting and demonstrate my strength of feeling for my family. My poetry evolved over time and I also wrote about other situations and experiences that evoke strong emotions in me. Although I do share it and publish it, my poetry is very personal.

My historical writing is driven by my desire to share history in an interesting and accessible way so that people can remember the horrors and wars of the past and how they impacted on societies. My hope is that people will learn by remembering the past.


 

  1. Your latest publication is a collection of unusual poems called “Behind Closed Doors”.
    Was your intention to arouse strong emotions in the readers with your poems?

My intention with Behind Closed Doors was to create a record of my thoughts and experiences about a few subjects that disturb and distress me. How people feel about climate change, retrenchments, restructurings, asset stripping of companies, death and other upsetting topics are often hidden by the masks we present to the world. We keep our thoughts and emotions shut up ‘behind closed doors.’

I also wanted to share my Covid-19 and lockdown cakes project which were linked to some darker limericks about my personal experiences during this time.

These poems and artworks are expressions of my reactions and emotions. I hope other people will relate to them and know they are not alone.



  1.  Do your poems exhibit a rhythmical structure?

Other than syllabic poems, my poetry is intended to have a rhythmic structure. This is one reason I like to read my poetry on my YouTube Channel. I always pleases me greatly when readers comment on the rhythm of a particular poem because they I know they ‘got it’.
 

  1. You participated in a few anthologies and wrote a few books of your own.
    How did you select the names of your characters?

Often, the character appears in my head with a name. This was the case for Margaret from Through the Nethergate as well as Michelle and Tom from A Ghost and His Gold. My latest characters in my work in progress, The Soldier and the Radium Girl, are called Kate and Jake. They also ‘came’ with names.

I write a lot of historical fiction, so there are real people included in my stories and I don’t change their names. The names of the Boer characters in A Ghost and His Gold were trickier for me. Suné and Renette are names I ‘borrowed’ from work colleagues. I told them about it, and they were pleased I was using their names in my book. The other names are ‘common’ local names and originate from people I know or have known at some point in my life.

My WIP about climate change and the fourth industrial revolution is more international so I had to google names for my non-European characters. I just looked up newspaper articles and ‘borrowed’ the names of the journalists and people mentioned in the articles. I mix and match the first names and surnames.

I am not like some writers who don’t chose character names until the end of their book. My characters must have names as they become real people in my head and on paper.


 

  1. One of your books published in Jan.2021 “A Ghost and His Gold” is about a paranormal phenomenon of three phantoms who died during the Anglo Boer War. It seems a bit scary/violent to me. After you finish writing a particular disturbing scene, do you get scared or do you have visions of your characters being in the room with you?

I have been reading dark fiction and true crime fiction since I was ten. I devoured Stephen King’s earlier novels and read books like Helter Skelter about the Manson murders while I was in junior school. As an adult, I gravitate towards books about war and the paranormal, so this is my literary diet.

Writing war or dark scenes can be mentally exhausting as I get involved with the scenes, but they do not disturb me afterwards.

The research for my climate change book got me down a little, so I’m taking a break from it to write a section of The Soldier and the Radium Girl. What is happening in our world is very frightening and writing about a world plagued by chaos, death, pandemics, and devastation when it is happening all around you, is quite different to writing about events that happened years ago.
 

  1. What kind of research did you do for this book, if any?

I do a huge amount of research for my historical books and stories. For A Ghost and His Gold, I used about thirty different resources to piece together my account of the Second Anglo Boer War through the eyes of my three ghosts, Pieter, Robert, and Estelle. I used a variety of documents from diaries to official historical records and I even read fiction books written during this period to get a feel for the food, clothing, and way of life.

I also visited a couple of museums in South Africa dedicated to Boer history and their lifestyle during the ‘treks’.

My resources are listed at the back of the book.
 

  1. What was your hardest scene or situation to write, if any?
    WARNING, THIS IS A BIT OF A SPOILER

The hardest scene for me to write was at the end when Estelle needed to confront her past and decide on her future path – would she complete her acts of revenge or would she choose a different path.

Estelle is a poltergeist and very bitter and angry, but I wanted the story to end well with all the ghosts achieving redemption. I had to find a way of allowing her to reach a redemption decision while demonstrating an internal struggle of significance. It wouldn’t suit her character if she just capitulated and forgave the people who had harmed her during her difficult life. She also had a vendetta against men that rape and deceive and this also had to be resolved.

This is a short extract from this particular scene in the book:

“The door bursts open. Estelle explodes into the room, eyes blazing, and with some object held out in front of her.

Michelle strains to make out what the object is, it looks like a smart phone. As she watches a mass of phosphorescence bursts from the smart phone, twinkling in the dimness like stars.

A sharp sour smell fills the air. It is the smell of fear as adrenaline filled sweat leaches from the pores of the watching group. The room comes alive with shadows.

The shadows of women of all shapes, sizes and ethnic creeds. Women wearing the brightly coloured traditional colours and designs of Africa; Hindu women wearing saris; Muslim women wearing hijabs or burkas; European women wearing Victorian clothing; American women wearing jeans and T-shirts. The women have one common feature, their baleful and glittering eyes.

The shadows multiply into thousands. They swarm everywhere. Some have scarred faces and twisted bodies, but most are beautiful with the glowing good looks of youth.

Estelle starts to chant, “Me too, me too,” and the shadows catch the refrain. The words howl around the room like a strong wind. A loud crack fills the air, and the group, who are all still seated, launch themselves instinctively backwards.

In front of their horrified eyes, the floor splits open from the door, right across the room to the window. The crevice widens and a noxious smell rises from its steaming depths. It is a horrendous smell, the smell of suffering, death, corruption, and blood overlaid with the odour of burning and charred bodies.

Estelle’s eyes fix on Tom. “I’ve come for your soul, Tom. You and I will both pay for our crimes by burning eternally in the fires of hell.””
 

Chocolate Land Characters
  1. You also wrote books with one of your kids and bake some of the recipes in your books. How did your kid get involved writing books with you, his mom.    

Michael is an imaginative boy who loved to be read too. When it came to learning to read himself, he struggled, and we discovered he had an auditory processing learning barrier. The Sir Chocolate books came about because I wanted to find a fun way to get Michael to read and write himself. He came up with the concept for Chocolate Land and the edible characters Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet who go around their world putting wrong things right.

We made up the stories together and I converted them into rhyming verse which Michael wrote out in a book form. Initially, Michael also drew the illustrations for the books. He is artistic.

Later, when we were encouraged by a friend to submit these stories to a publisher, we added the recipes and the fondant, sweet, and cake artworks. My idea was that our Sir Chocolate Book series would be a fun interactive series for caregivers and children where they could read the stories and make the characters and recipes together as a family activity.

Michael used to enjoy fondant art and some of his art is in the earlier books. He loves to develop new recipes with me and to cook with either me, my mom, or my husband.
 

  1. Do you find writing with your kid exhausting or not at all?

No, it wasn’t difficult. We would just see something that triggered an idea and then we would chat about it and make up a story about it. I did the rhyming verse and then read it to Michael to see if he liked it. If we had other children visiting, they would also jump in with ideas. We had a lot of fun writing these stories.
 

  1. What are your writing plans for the future with or without your kid?

Michael and I are just finishing a new Sir Chocolate book called Chocolate Fudge Saves the Sugar Dog. This should be published in early December this year. We are also working on a Haunted Halloween Holiday picture book for children.

From an older children perspective, mom and I are working on After the Bombs Fell, a sequel to While the Bombs Fell, and I am working on my own semi memoir about my girlhood called The Girl Who Loved Dolls.

I am also working on my climate change book called The Creeping Change and The Soldier and the Radium Girl. Another interesting idea struck me yesterday so I could soon have five WIPs.


 

  1. If you wanted to leave a message for posterity in one of your books what would it be? 

It’s quite difficult for me to limit that to just one book. My historical paranormal novels are aimed at ensuring history is remembered and that young people learn from the many mistakes from our collective past.

My climate change book takes our current situation and extrapolates it forward into a dystopian future where our lifestyles are greatly changed due to global warming, technology and its implications for the future of jobs, and on-going virus variants caused by mutations. This book is a warning as to the worst-case outcome if serious changes are not made to the way the world currently works.

Thank you, Valentina, for inviting me to be your guest. I enjoyed answering your questions very much.

Robbie, you are a fascinating woman, I enjoyed having you as my guest, and learned a lot about you.

Roberta Eaton Cheadle author biography

Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a South African writer and poet specialising in historical, paranormal, and horror novels and short stories. She is an avid reader in these genres and her writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough.
Roberta has short stories and poems in several anthologies and has 2 published novels, Through the Nethergate, a historical supernatural fantasy, and A Ghost and His Gold, a historical paranormal novel set in South Africa.
Roberta has 9 children’s books published under the name Robbie Cheadle.
Roberta was educated at the University of South Africa where she achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. She was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000.
Roberta has worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and has written 7 publications relating to investing in Africa. She has won several awards over her 20-year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.

Purchase Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s books

TSL Books (paperback)

https://tslbooks.uk/product-tag/roberta-eaton-cheadle/

Lulu.com (ebook)

A Ghost and His Gold: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/robert-eaton-cheadle/a-ghost-and-his-gold/ebook/product-d858km.html?page=1&pageSize=4

Through the Nethergate: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/roberta-eaton-cheadle/through-the-nethergate/ebook/product-1qkz92jq.html?page=1&pageSize=4

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Roberta-Eaton-Cheadle/e/B08RSNJQZ5

Follow Roberta Eaton Cheadle at:
Website
https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/
Blog
https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/blog/
Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19631306.Roberta_Eaton_Cheadle
Twitter
https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17
Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites/?modal=admin_todo_tour
Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

******

Please allow me a brief and small advertisement of my books.

Valentina’s Books on Amazon and B&N




Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer/consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She has conceived a few new books of various subjects to which she is working simultaneously. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel. Her books are available in paperback and kindle on Amazon and B&N

73 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Norah
    Sep 29, 2021 @ 11:34:51

    What a fascinating in-depth interview. I learned so much more about Robbie. Her reading tastes are very different from mine. I will not read or watch any of Stephen King’s fiction. However, I quite like reading about the impact of war on people’s lives, not because I enjoy the suffering, but because I find their resilience inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Jane Risdon
    Sep 24, 2021 @ 10:51:17

    Enjoyable post which I really enjoyed, Robbie is prolific and talented and it is good to see her gaining more exposure. You have a fab blog Valentina, congrats.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Teri Polen
    Sep 23, 2021 @ 22:39:47

    I know what you mean about character names, Robbie. Mine always tell me their names – sure makes it easier for me, lol. I also read a book about the Manson family – doesn’t get much darker than that.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. dgkaye
    Sep 23, 2021 @ 22:26:14

    Another fascinating interview here Valentina with Robbie again. Honestly Robbie, I don’t know how you do so much PR, writing, mothering and othering and writing books. You are a dynamo! Hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. olganm
    Sep 23, 2021 @ 18:23:01

    I read Robbie’s books often, but I didn’t realise she was working on so many things at the same time, and have discovered plenty of details I didn’t know. Great review, Valentina, and congratulations and good luck to Robbie!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. Jim Borden
    Sep 23, 2021 @ 18:16:02

    such an insightful interview; I am impressed by how many projects you’ve got going at once!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  7. roughwighting
    Sep 23, 2021 @ 16:47:44

    What terrific questions, Valentina! They really go down deep into the soul of a writer, and Robbie answers with depth and honesty. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  8. Vashti Q
    Sep 22, 2021 @ 18:13:55

    I loved this interview. I enjoyed learning more about Robbie. Fascinating. Thank you Valentina and Robbie! 💗

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  9. edwardky2
    Sep 22, 2021 @ 13:11:32

    Reblogged this on Ed;s Site..

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  10. harmonykentonline
    Sep 22, 2021 @ 12:17:24

    Great interview, Valentina and Robbie 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  11. marianbeaman
    Sep 22, 2021 @ 10:33:06

    Valentina, I like your flair and your varied interests. In that, you are much like Robbie. Thanks for this very detailed interview. I do have Behind Closed Doors on my KIndle and several other of her books, some of which I’ve reviewed also.

    I count Robbie among my close blog friends, and admire her focus and productivity.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  12. Susan Scott
    Sep 22, 2021 @ 04:42:15

    Thank you both Valentina and Robbie. Great questions and answers.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  13. petespringerauthor
    Sep 22, 2021 @ 03:00:35

    Thanks so much for the comprehensive interview, Valentina. Robbie was one of the first bloggers I met when I started just over two years ago. What fascinates me the most about her writing is the diversity of projects and genres that she takes on. Robbie is also one of the kindest bloggers I’ve met, always taking the time to support other bloggers. I don’t know how she does it all, but she continues to amaze me.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  14. Jacqui Murray
    Sep 22, 2021 @ 00:44:09

    Really good interview, Valentina and Robbie. It epitomizes the ‘power of words’.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  15. Liz Gauffreau
    Sep 21, 2021 @ 22:54:09

    Yowza, five works-in-progress!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  16. tidalscribe.com
    Sep 21, 2021 @ 19:40:20

    That dark extract is certainly chilling, time to retreat to chocolate books, but what a wide range Robbie’s writing covers and how important to bring to life parts of history that are conveniently forgotten.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply

    • Valentina
      Sep 21, 2021 @ 20:59:36

      Robbie is certainly a talented author. Thanks for the visit.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply

    • robbiesinspiration
      Sep 22, 2021 @ 05:20:17

      Hi Janet, lovely to see you. That extract is dark because I wanted to pull in the modern ‘me too’ twist and keep to Estelle characterisation. There is a twist coming after this. I do love writing dark things and I think my best writing is dark. I was raised a strict Catholic and aspects of the religion are very dark [think Dante’s Divine Comedy]. I always loved that part of my religious instruction.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  17. Stevie Turner
    Sep 21, 2021 @ 19:10:13

    Thanks Valentina for the interesting interview with Robbie.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  18. Carla
    Sep 21, 2021 @ 18:54:16

    Excellent review Robbie and Valentina. I have read a few of your books and have been following your blog, but I learned a lot reading this post.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  19. robbiesinspiration
    Sep 21, 2021 @ 17:03:34

    Reblogged this on Robbie's inspiration and commented:
    I am over at Valentina Expressions, hosted by talented designer and author, Valentina Cirasola, for her Autumn with an Author series of posts. Thank you for hosting me, Valentina.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  20. Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.
    Sep 21, 2021 @ 10:38:21

    Wonderful Valentina and Robbie and great to hear more about the background to your reading and writing Robbie and you will certainly not have much spare time with all the WIPs… hugs to you both…♥

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  21. Marje @ Kyrosmagica
    Sep 21, 2021 @ 09:56:29

    Great interview with Robbie, such an amazing woman. I am totally in awe of her many skills. ❤ x

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  22. Annette Rochelle Aben
    Sep 21, 2021 @ 09:31:50

    5 WIPs? Of course, this IS Robbie Cheadle (my idol in so many ways)

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  23. robbiesinspiration
    Sep 21, 2021 @ 05:32:53

    Hi Valentina, thank you for hosting me today with this lovely post. A lovely idea for a blog series.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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